Tubular Bells is the debut studio album by English musician Mike Oldfield, released on 25 May 1973 as the first album on Virgin Records. Oldfield, who was 19 years old when it was recorded, played almost all the instruments on the mostly instrumental album. The album initially sold slowly, but gained worldwide attention in December 1973 when its opening theme was used for the soundtrack to the horror film The Exorcist. This led to a surge in sales which increased Oldfield's profile and played an important part in the growth of the Virgin Group. It stayed in the top ten of the UK Albums Chart for one year from March 1974, during which it reached number one for one week. It peaked at number three on the US Billboard 200, and reached the top position in Canada and Australia. The album has sold over 2.7 million copies in the UK and an estimated 15 million worldwide. An orchestral version produced by David Bedford was released in 1975 as The Orchestral Tubular Bells. Oldfield has recorded three sequels: Tubular Bells II (1992), Tubular Bells III (1998), and The Millennium Bell (1999). For the album's 30th anniversary Oldfield re-recorded the album as Tubular Bells 2003. A remastered edition was released in 2009. Its contribution to British music was recognised when Oldfield played extracts during the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London.Wikipedia
I had an ex who considered this the pinnacle of musical achievement. He turned out to be about as tedious as this album is. I get why it's on the list, it was sort of groundbreaking in its day. I just never got it, it rouses nothing in me. I hear a bunch of boring musical wankery, and just want to yawn and push it aside.
"Thanks for the recording, Mike. Great tune. Love those bells! We can really do something with them... Oh sure, the whistles are cute, too... Uh-huh, and the guitar at 14 minutes... Yep, the jig at the end was, er, also amusing... Nice stuff. Sure. I'm just saying that as far as quote unquote songs, it's obvious those first four minutes do the heavy lifting, so we should run with those. Maybe work in a few of the other bits. That'll shave off a cool forty-four minutes or so. Then we'll be sitting pre... Sorry, say that again... Oh. Really? All of it?... I see... Uh-huh... I see... Mike, that's *very* long. I'm not sure peope will be able to tolerate it once the main bit is over so early... Mike?... Mike?... Shit."
Stunning. A prefect work of art. The man was 19 when he composed the album and it took him 6 months. An absolute masterpiece
When the drums kick in during Bells pt. 2 and that guy starts grunt-singing and howling in whatever language that was… I finally had my first genuine WTF moment with this entire list. And I liked it! This album really runs the gamut of the ridiculous and the sublime, and the whole time I kept thinking of A) The Exorcist B) that Oldfield should make a record with Tortoise and C) that Oldfield should make a record with Mike Patton. All enjoyable thoughts in my book.
At its best, it reminds me of things I would rather be listening to; at its worst, it reminds me how bad of a decision it was to listen to this instead of those other things. Maybe Oldfield didn't understand that announcing instruments doesn't make the theme they're riffing on sound any better, it only makes me regret that I have to listen to another round of it before I can finally finish the album. I only two things notable: the sequence in Tubular Bells Pt. II with the grunted vocals and the fact that a child-rapist used the first minute as a theme for his movie about demon possession. The former only happened because Oldfield got himself drunk enough to accidentally do something interesting. The latter's what brought us here, listening to an album that makes me wish some priest could exorcise the memory of this bland music out of my fucking head.
As unique now as it was in 1973, definitely an album you must hear before you die.
Ni fu, ni fa.
“Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield (1973) Autobiographical review: I bought this album when it came out in 1973, chiefly because of the brilliance of the single release (used as theme music for the movie “The Exorcist”), but I’m pretty sure I never listened to the whole album. I lacked the patience. This morning, I don’t know if I have the patience, but I do have the time. Almost entirely instrumental, it’s basically an experimental composition with a wide variety of keyboard and guitar sounds, woven together in a richly textured pastiche of tones. A dubbing picnic. On the plus side, this work is extraordinarily innovative (for 1973), with some very creative instrumentation, recording techniques, time signatures, and chord progressions. It’s very interesting to listen to this album and ask oneself how he’s making this or that particular sound. Definitely cool. On the minus side, there is little percussion (none on side one), and there is a complete lack of cohesion—a random mixture of moods that are missing a symphonic theme. It’s composed and arranged as if it were a high tech hobby. Some pitch problems on the backing vocals and lower end fretted string instruments. And the gimmicky voiceover naming added instruments is pedantic. When it finally gets to what one might call prog rock at 14:00 on side two, it’s substandard. Remember, we’d already heard Emerson, Lake & Palmer and early Pink Floyd. Most of the album doesn’t rise to the quality of the first four minutes. Very disappointing. So while the album is definitely good, it’s finally unsatisfying. Now on the other hand, if I were high . . . 3/5
why the growling? it was good before the growling
Stunning piece of progressive rock
Amazing. I had no idea the famous instrumental piece is from this album.
Another one my brother bought but I don’t know where this vinyl ended up. I remembered the music was widely known since it was in a popular movie. The wiki notes reminded me it was The Exorcist. It’s quite impressive that he was still a teenager when he wrote and played all the instruments. One thing I didn't remember is how good he was at playing guitar.He lays down some good shit The end of side 1 is priceless when the introduction of the instruments builds to a climax as we eagerly await the introduction of the tubular bells. The timing of this release could not have been better since the use of Hallucinogenics was reaching new heights. I have to call this a masterpiece.
10/10, I love weird prog that was just such a cool album, I really loved it
Good shit, 20+ minute songs are where it's at. Favorite track is Tubular Bells lol
I greatly prefer the 2003 remake, possibly because it is the first version I heard and possibly because it does sound much better from a pure sound quality perspective. Anyway, this album is a milestone in my musical journey because it was one of the first ones where I would concentrate on the sounds and on the sensations they gave me more than on words (of course, they're basically not there here) or other aspects. It's still one of my go-to albums to test audio stuff and I enjoy it greatly.
This is amazing, truly a masterpiece, I love the first track
Is there any instrument this guy can’t play??
Oh man, I was drawn into Oldfield's Tubular Bells. Both epic sides of this record really were mesmerizing and instrumentally beautiful. The growling on Side B was even acceptable :) The single that followed on Spotify was a nice bonus that connected me to my Irish/English ancestors. The other additional song, Sailor's Hornpipe, is bloody hilarious! I am grateful to have been invited to discover Mike Oldfield and look forward to checking out his catalogue. I have a feeling I'll be doing the jig!
Nostalgia é uma droga pesada
Really dug this.
Me gustó mucho es una música muy relajante
Exceptional album. Grew up with this, he took music in a completely different direction when this album was made.
Havnt listened to it for years, brilliant
Ephemeral, fantastic, all-encompassing
This was a very nice change of pace.
Classic album, never listened to it before but I get it now
07/06/2021 Ricardo was here... This is definitely one of the best things I ever listened... Fun fact: Mike oldfield was only 19 when he made this masterpiece. And he played most of the instruments.
It might be cheese but I still love it
excellent instrumental album!
What a stroke of genius, so many instruments, so many intricate melodies and harmonies, and all of it played by an 19 year old in 1973
Genius. I am blown away by the talent.
Banger! Insanely wide range of sounds, fun segments, everything. Love this album.
To be played at loud volume.
Lange nicht gehört. Sehr geil.
I mean, starting off with the album's biggest contribution in the Exorcist theme, to the yelling section, this album is just damn interesting. Worth a revisit for sure.
A prog classic, made especially impressive by being nearly a one man show. Just great, and right up my alley.
Rock progresivo de Mike Oldfield.
Wow wat een vibe. Dit was echt een ervaring!
Deze was leuk!
Fantastic. Musicians today truly don't strive as high as they used to, huh. So much truly magical music from the 60s/70s that makes me feel a way no music from this century ever has. Prog music has such an effect on me. This one genre contains a large chunk of the most spiritual and magical music I have ever found. Side note: I love this album, I really do. But after listening to his 2003 re-recording I can never go back to this version. I wish everyone who rated this album low would've gotten to listen to that version instead. Mike Oldfield himself felt the original version had a lot of flaws that bothered him. Mike Oldfield is fantastic. If you liked or even kind of liked this album, you HAVE to listen to Ommadawn. I like it more than Tubular Bells; it feels more ethereal and magical. People who dismiss this album as "tedious musical wankery" lack imagination and heart. This album is grand.
I love it
I liked this, I was honestly not really expecting to like this but I really did. I liked the varieties and the sounds that reappeared throughout the record. I think at the first listen I liked Part 1 more than Part 2, but I appreciate how it all connects together. I ended up giving the big like to the 2003 version, as it has sections as separate tracks, and as much as I liked the thing as a whole, it's much easier to integrate it with the rest of my daily listening music as individual tracks. I ended up listening to The Sailor's Hornpipe over and over again, which occurs at the very last part of Part 2.
I had no idea what to expect from this album going into it, but about 5 minutes in I knew it was going to be special. Amazing guitar tones, superb instrumentation, brilliant melodies. This is perfect. An absolute masterpiece.
Really enjoyed this. It's weird but good
What can you say? It's a masterpiece, I love it.
What an album. I knew of Tubular Bells but had never listened to it. Since Friday I have had it on constant play. Just absolutely brilliant!!
so the record that started Richard Bransons Billionaire Journey. Mike Oldfield was a 19 year old prodigy\Genius. This is his Magnum Opus and has some delightful compositions, who doesn't love Viv Stanshalls Majestic voice on "Introducing". Love the whole album really and absolutely rightfully on this list (Top Ten for me)
Very nice, easy-listening prog. It's not perfect but just the fact that Mike Oldfield made this almost completely by himself at 19 is incredible. Also I'm a sucker for folk music which this featured a lot of.
Without this, there'd be no Richard Branson ballooning. I guess that's a tolerable price.
Excited to finally listen to this whole album. Kind of psychedelic, experimental rock and folk. Reminded me of when I fell in love with the London Olympic Games opening ceremony music - I miss that soundtrack/playlist.
I used to listen to this album endlessly, I could name the instruments as Mike said them. I especially loved saying "mandolin" and "slightly distorted guitar" for some reason. And then the final "Tubular Bells"! Brilliant. Love it. Admittedly, I had forgotten just how weird things got in the second half of Side 2 but still, so good to listen to it again.
Make no mistake, *Tubular Bells* is the tree that hides the weird and sometimes wonderful forest that Mike Oldfield planted for us in first decade of his long career, from the long suites of the seventies to his catchy pop hits sung by the pristine Maggie Reilly during the early eighties (just don't bother explore anything from later periods, it's quite pointless). But like all forests, that one can be confusing at times. True, there are treasures to dig out in each and every one of those early albums. Yet there are *also* jarring moments in them, stuff so cheesy you can't believe someone able to write and play so many sublime melodies and arrangements can also stumble and fall for such stupid-sounding ideas. But as perplexing as Oldfield's music can be, it seems like the man always spontaneously follows his instincts, and this wherever they lead him. And this is exactly what makes those early records of his endearing and one-of-a-kind, even with their many flaws. At least to me. There are two exceptions to this rule of thumb that Mike Oldfield's records are always flawed to an extent, which prove the man was able to write genuine masterpieces when rightly inspired. The second exception is *Ommadawn* (1975), and if you loved *Tubular Bells*, I advise you to check it out a.s.a.p.. But the very first exception is Oldfield's debut, obviously, from its famous introduction on grand piano and sped-up glockenspiel and farfisa organ (following an off-kilter, hypnotic rhythm pattern) to the layers of instruments piling up over a catchy bassline concluding Part One. In comparison, Part Two is both dreamier (those celtic folk interludes ; that utopian, "new age" atmosphere elsewhere) and more eccentric (that mock-hard rock thing with grunting vocals coming out of nowhere), going from one extreme to the next, exploring both burlesque and breathtaking sonic landscapes. Part 2 is indeed notoriously more "difficult" than Part 1. But as disjointed as it sounds, you could still find such contrasts in the *relatively* streamlined structure of the first part. One thing's for sure, the 180-degrees turns on this LP, from heavenly female choirs to heavy guitar riffs, will have your head spinning... Yet we're not talking about Emerson, Lake and Palmer here either. *Tubular Bells* is not merely demonstrative or performative. It has a heart, too--maybe a clunky one, in keeping with the pre-DIY manner in which it was conceptualized on tape shenanigans and other sort of try-and-error measures, but a heart nonetheless. In a way, Oldfield's magnum opus sure gives another sense to the word "ridiculous", both as a negative and a positive term. This album shouldn't work, and yet, minus very short WTF moments, it does. And even the WTF moments are actually playing a key part in all this, preventing this record to fall into all the usual pitfalls of prog-rock by using an out-of-the-box philosophy about what instrumentation should do. Case in point: the electric guitar. Oldfield had found from the get-go one of the most distinct and idiosyncratic sound in the long history of that instrument, a sound that he would refine again and again in later albums. As a result, his guitar playing in not only *dumbly* virtuositic ; it is also rich, hugely harmonic, evocative, playful, both strident and lush. Another paradox many rock fans can't quite put their fingers on. Even for some coming from the usual prog-rock ilk. To put it in a nutshell, you may love *Tubular Bells* or you may hate it, but it's hard to deny its originality and importance. This record *is* indeed an essential listen, both as an example and a *counterexample* of what made people tick during the early seventies. Such paradoxes are rare, but when they become such a popular cultural artefact, the end result becomes precious. Avant-garde has never sounded so easy on the ear... or maybe novelty pieces have never sounded so avant-garde, who knows? And all it took to accomplish that trick was a 19-year-old kid following a very personal vision--not exactly a genius, but at least a wizard when it came to sound and moods. Virgin Records founder Richard Branson can be thanked a thousand times over for giving a chance to such a young man with very few credentials going for him. Later on, Branson thought he would reach the heavens with Virgin Airlines or Virgin Galactic. But maybe the only time he *really* did so, was when he greenlighted *Tubular Bells*, all things considered... Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 833 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory: 91 Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 41 (including this one) Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): 36
I enjoyed every weird spacial moment of that. Iconic.
An absolute classic! So glad to see this one pop up, i love super long tracks and these are some of the best! This continues to be a classic
This album opened up this genre by being just a big hit.
I do love this - the voice at the end of Part 1 is great!
Absolutely love this album, I owned it on vinyl.
Another timeless record. Love the instrumentation on this more than most other Oldfield records
Amazing album. Tubular Bells - the part everyone knows - is incredible, but for my money the crazy Pt. II is where it’s at! Love love love this album!
3.75/5. Interesting stuff here. I liked the sounds on this album, and I liked the format. Pretty experimental.
It was wild.
Very talented guy! The exorcist theme is so much cooler now!
Interesting and fun but bit weird
Liked quite a bit, even though mostly instrumental! Classic bell tune
Very interesting. Has the exorcist theme.
This feels like a quest soundtrack + 80s (although released in 1973). Feels like there's 10 different movie soundtracks in here... Part II is a wild ride
Totally surprising. A musical journey
Better than I was expecting but still all I could think about was the Exorcist.
2 words, rock flute. Big Jethro Tull fan and this is obviously their biggest album. I'm always on the lookout it when shopping for second hand vinyl. Would love this guy in my collection.
Aparte de ser un disco de progresivo bien interesante creo que merece muchísimo respeto porque tiene esas melodías que todos identificamos y ni sabíamos de quién eran.
Killer soundscape, fantastic album to put on while working. Will definitely be looking into the rest of Oldfield's work.
bro what are there any individual songs on this album lmao? Ok, so it looks like this album is actually two big songs? This album is alright. Has some cool parts to it.
Instrumental but cool. Funny little ending too
This album was, to put it in layman's terms, "blinking well baffling". I love it.
Bizarrement bon. Me fait penser a kraftwerk des fois 4.25
Nice one, instrumental
I know the intro from pop culture. This is a killer album. Amazing guitar work. I am very glad I heard this before I died. I can find influences all over modern and experimental music. Thoroughly enjoyed the listen.
The Wiki for this ground-breaking album is interesting. I knew that this was the 19 year old Oldfield's debut album but I didn't realize that it put Virgin Records on the map. Also Branson wanted vocals so that he could release a single, Oldfield was pissed at this so he got drunk and started to grunting nonsense which explains the Piltdown Man garble on side 2. If I heard this album today I would think it was gimmicky and silly, but back in 73 it was a tour-de-force and hugely innovative. This is another album that I must have listened to a thousand times.
I know I'm late to the party here but I've got a lot of regard for Mike Oldfield - a weird guy but someone who determinedly made music his way. 'Tubular Bells' is still a very interesting record; for me, its ubiquity hasn't dulled its impact.
I was going to give it a 4 from memory. Then I listened and remembered that MO played all those instruments plus so many great guitar solos. It was tempting to score higher, but I found some of the more raucous sections grating.
This went from spooky to weird to spoken word to god knows where else. What an entirely unexpected journey. Could certainly have benefited from some editing, the rest of the album just doesn't quite live up to the opening minutes of track 1. A weird little mystical prog rock adventure that led to an enjoyable Friday morning.
At first I was like, “what?” Then I was like, “whoa!” Sometimes I like long winded instrumentals, sometimes not. This one I liked, trancelike, fun, weird, cool guitar. Good for driving through a snow storm on the way to Reno in a Carrolla.
Magical and amazing. Don't k is why it tooke so long to listen to this
Beautiful first part of the album. The second one is also very nice, but isn't exactly up to par with 5/5 first part.
Just a wild & wonderful musical journey. The ending to Pt.II felt like I was ripped out of a day-dream after tipping back too far on my chair An album that has stood the test of time to still be viewed as creative & really unique almost 50 years after its recording gets a 4 from me
This unique album is a hodgepodge of many different instruments, all performed by one man - Mike Oldfield, and dubbed over each other into two distinct tracks on the album. It is beautiful, ethereal, novel, haunting, and soothing. A listener can become engaged in picking out each individual instruments that is introduced, or one can simply play this album in the background to serve as a peaceful backdrop melody. This experimental album idea may go down in history as the most recent famous musical piece since the classics. Also, one will recognize the opening of the first track on the album to be the theme of the movie The Exorcist - which gives the album a haunting sound once you have seen the movie.
Honestly this shit rocked my fucking socks. I really enjoyed the vibe of this album and I did not expect to. Great album.
It’s Tubular Bells innit! Absolute classic! Starts well, middle is good, finishes brilliantly! Who DOESNT love the bells baby! I’m biased as my dad was heavy for this, but it is a banger!
AKA “The Exorcist Theme.” Getting over that, this is kind of awesome; the two sides form a mirror of each other and have this incredible build up. Favourite track: There are only two of them. “Part One”
started off kinda mushy but hitting pleasant highs at 12 min mark.
Goes from chill cool progressive album to Manic Muppet time.
29. No andar de cima, ensaia-se o cinco anos do Bowie em loop eterno. it's a god awful small affair it's a god awful it's a it's a god awful small affair to the girl with the it's a god awf it's a god awful small affair to the girl with the to the to the girl with the mousy hair but her mummy is yelling it's a god awful small affair it's it's it's a MotA: Tubular Bells - Pt. I "Tubular bells"
Episkt projekt. Självklart lite ångestframkallande då Mike Oldfield endast var 19 år när han släppte denna debut, och han spelade nästan alla instrument själv. Men om jag bortser från detta är det ett mästerverk som, på grund av sin omfattning, är svår att greppa efter endast en genomlyssning. Det känns otroligt genomtänkt, varje ton är utplacerad på exakt rätt ställe. Första halvan är lite rockigare, andra mer lugn och fingerplockig, förutom delen i mitten/slutet då lyssnaren förflyttas till en stenåldersgrotta, samt sista minuten som är en mer trallig karnevalsk bit. Otroligt bra progrock. Jag ger ett högt betyg redan efter en lyssning, och tror att det kan vara ett konstverk som växer, där det går att hitta nya nyanser och skrymslen, efter fler lyssningar. Rolig trivia är att albumet blev världskänt efter att introt till Part One användes som soundtrack till filmen The Exorcist, samt att det var det första albumet som gavs ut på det då nyskapade Virgin Records. Bästa låt: Nej! Poänglöst här, ska lyssnas som en helhet.
Lovely noises, one of Ross's favourites
Never heard this before, despite recognising the cover and name. Enjoyed the changes at the piece went on, the humour in places and the overall vibe.
Luuv mike oldfield
Old friend. Weird but compelling.
A little odd, but interesting!
A fun prog odyssey! I was only familiar with the Exorcist bit previously, but largely enjoyed all the other sections. I am gleefully anticipating all the complaints about the section that sounds like it's sung in Klingon!
Great throughout. Amazing the talent shown at 19.
7/10 good music
Just great, in regular rotation.
Great album not just my style of music but now iconic for that time.
Speciaal album die niet goed weet waar het heen wil. Er zitten wel een paar leuke stukken in, en een paar hele vreemde. Het voordeel van de twijfel en 4 sterren
This album is wild as fuck and does so many vastly different things
Loved reading the other reviews for this. I can fully see both sides that this is (a) a slice of prog rock genius and (b) the reason why punk needed to come along and shake things up a bit. Wonderful nonsense.
Fun and interesting music. Will listen again
Knew the theme from \"The Exorcist,\" but wondered how Mike would fill 50 minutes of record. But he does and it works well, with surprising range and depth.
While dated, this was a ground breaking album with some brilliant moments. Good bit of nostalgia for me...
An absolute classic. 4*
Would've been a big old shock to the system during its time in 1973's space. The Monster's demonic dialogue appearing 15 minutes into Pt II was hilarious, very Tenacious D styles.
I like that something this unusual achieved such mainstream success. I enjoy thinking about 19 year old Mike recording this weird masterpiece not knowing it would soon give him international fame. There were parts I didn't like but by and large really enjoyed this musical adventure.
Enjoyed this one. Lots of cool sounds. Pretty experimental - drags at times.
No lo quiero para vinilo. Igual la canción Tubular Bells sí, pero el resto no.
It would be 5 if it wasn’t for the annoying horn pipe at the end.
It has it all. The Exorcist theme. A see-and-say passage. The fact that it ends in a sea shanty is hilarious. One of the 4 stars is just for the sea shanty.
Actually pretty good. Different.
Different but good
Saw this performed live (not Mike Oldfield, but approved by him). Very atmospheric.
I liked it, an interesting album. Some parts were stranger than others (particularly in the last song). It was nice to listen to as background. Favorite Song: Tubular Bells, Pt. I
I remember a buddy in high school putting on this album and realising that The Exorcist song actually wound up having a pleasant ending. And then hearing that Hornpipe ditty at the end. What a weird album. I’ll boost it a star for the memories.
totally tubular mannn. nah but I listened driving through the Colorado mountains and I'm really happy it worked out like that. not my usual but it's really nice
Instrumentally, this was fascinating and pleasant. I'd like to have this on in the background at all times if it weren't for the vocal interruptions.
What a completely and utterly weird album. Inventive, swinging wildly from one melodic line to a dissonant section in less than a blink. I can't say this is my favorite album ever but I have to give it points for being creatively bizarre. And enough things in here are enjoyable that I would consider a re-listen. Fave track: Tubular bells part I.
Having been acquainted with the opening notes of the first part of Tubular Bells, I was quite surprised by the twists and turns the songs undertake. And the bonus tracks are rather special as well. Favorites: Tubular Bells (Pt. 2), Mike Oldfield's Single.
Liked it! Very much an album of ambient music for me
Prog as fuck I feel like. I liked it a lot.
A very cool experimental prog-rock album. Has its oddities, but was enjoyable the whole way through. I especially liked the cameo from the Uruk-Hai from Lord of the Rings. Favorite song: Tubular Bells - Pt. II
I really liked this, I just wish the tracks were broken up a bit instead of two 24 minutes long songs.
Nautin tästä yllättävänkin paljon! En oo varma mitä mieltä olin kakkososan örinöistä mut ehkä kumminkin positiivinen.
En oo koskaan pystynyt katsomaan Manaaja -elokuvaa koska pelkään niin perkeleesti kauhuelokuvia. Se lieneekin syy siihen miksi oon tykästynyt tähän levyyn niin paljon. En oo ikinä muodostanut sitä kappale-elokuva -yhteyttä näiden kahden välille. Oon aina käsitellyt tätä vaan tosi mageena biisinä. Rakastan sitä että täs on muutama super hookki teema joka varioi ja joihin palataan. Sielu lepää. 4/5
Before he was pushed in a more commercial - and very successful - direction by his record label, Mike Oldfield produced mainly long instrumental and - for the time highly experimental - pieces. This is Oldfield's earliest outing as a recording artist. It shows, in that it sounds a bit dated soundwise and limited regarding his skills a s musician. Very frequentliy, there is much meandering over one idea or the other without going anywhere melodically for quite some time. For example the guitar solo after about 6 Minutes in Part 1 is very not very exciting. Some other parts are in the same vein, sometimes even cringy - Oldfield still was to come into his own as a musician. But in spite of this, this is a classic worth knowing. 3.5/5.
This is a very different album. With only two tracks (originally...) it makes a statement about how music should be marketed. These two tracks each have subsongs of music. Some bits are better than others. Overall I enjoyed this album because of how different and bold it was.
Certain parts remind me of Sufjan Stevens, mmmm , I wonder how that works. Maybe it is the other way around, separated by 40 years. Ahead of it's time is clearly an understatement. The lyric 'vocals' on side 2 undermine it a little for me. Cover art: 5/5 iconic
Side One 5/5 Side Two 3/5
I wish I had liner notes to follow along with the music, picking out all the instruments, but I guess that's what the extended outro is for. I hear Pacific island instruments at 11 minutes, East Asian instruments at 15 minutes... there's a ton of crazy sounds going on here. Insane amount of talent. First 10 minutes are intrinsically beautiful with wonderful transitions, then moves a bit more rough and exotic before a momentary silence. The next few minutes serve as a mild break, low in volume and simple on the guitar, Oldfield credits all his instruments. A bit of an anticlimatic ending, but those first 17 minutes are worth it. The second part is where things get really interesting. First third feels like medieval British folk, before we get some lovely back chorus. I adore the grunts; some love it and some hate it, but I think it adds a nice twist to keep you on your toes, picking up the pace. Apparently the dude got pissed they wanted lyrics so he drank half a bottle of whiskey and screamed into a mic for 10 minutes. Overall it's a really accessible experimental album. Doesn't do anything too groundbreaking once you break it all down, but it's one of the most enjoyable tracks I've heard that last more than half an hour.
The motif used in The Exorcist overshadows everything else.
I thought the whole thing would be the theme from The Exorcist, but it was so much more. Some very melodic playing, stellar guitar work, some spoken word stuff even a little country honky tonk stuff. A varied and interesting album that held my attention from beginning to end. 4 🌟
Not sure I've listened to this in full - its just so mad isn't it!? But I love it for its epicness and happy memories of Lakey D
This is wonder and magical and such an experience. LOVE ITTT
7/10. For the most part quite enjoyable, but the vocals always felt rather unwelcome and unnecessary.
Solid prog rock but felt somewhat directionless. 7/10
Je tenais dans ce review à remettre au clair un point qui a été mal compris de la part de nos confrères américains. Dans mon derneir review de Dusty Springfield, je fais référence au pet de fouffe monumental exécuté par une Dusty des plus vulgaires. Il se trouve que la terminologie du mot "pet de fouffe" a été assez mal comprise outre Atlantique. En effet, lorsque l'on entre l'expression "pet de fouffe" dans Google Translate, ce dernier nous renvoie la traduction "fart", passant totalement outre tout l'aspect fouffe de ce pet. Avis à nos amis américains, ne vous méprennez pas, je fais bien ici référence à un pet de fouffe, et non à un pet classique. Maintenant cette clarification faite, place à la suite.
L'album démarre par une angoissante mélodie nous faisant pressentir l'arrivée imminente d'un ou plusieurs extraterrestres. L'un d'eux s'emparera du microphone dans les derniers instants et grommellera des idioties qui ne méritent pas vraiment qu'on s'y attarde.
Loved it all apart from the Blue Peter bit at the end 🤣
This is the definitive Prog Rock album- as it shows prog at its best and at its worst. The instrumentation and composition are excellently crafted and very well preformed, but at the same time theirs still this feeling of bloated presence with the entire album- and the incredibly extended runtime to the one and only title tracks movements is, at some times unbearable. It would make sense if more prog people broke up the actual song tracks into movements instead of just having one long 18 minute piece- it can still be epic. Side note I lost my shit when the Bri’ish guy said “glockenspiel”
Sweeping and cinematic but also psychedelic and strange. It took a few minutes to grow on me but I got into it, especially once musical motifs started reprising. Very satisfying to hear melodies come back in a long-form piece of music. I do think it requires your full attention though. It was perfect for a long car ride. A few moments that stood out to me (I took screenshots on my phone to remember them): Pt. 1: 12:30 - When the bass joins in. Such a cool, kinda creepy vibe. Pt. 1: 14:25 - A guitar riff! This surprised me. Pt. 1: 17:20 - The music gets quiet but there's tension and drama. You can tell something big is coming. Pt. 1: 20:15 - Haha when he starts listing all the instruments! It's kinda silly but also helpful for me to appreciate everything that's going on here. Pt. 2: 8:40 - After a slow burn, that guitar (?) ripping into the song is a cool effect. Pt. 2: 11:45 - After the narration of musical instruments in Pt. 1, I was wondering if there would be vocals in Pt. 2. Well, here they are! Haha wow I did not expect this insane monster growl gibberish! Mike Oldfield is one weird dude. I love how often this album surprised me.
Listened to this long before. Better than I remembered.
While I’m not a huge fan of the genre, this is one of my favorite pieces of prog rock. Not only was it used in the exorcist but just the obsession of making it is super interesting. Idk what the other two tracks on the album are and I don’t really care either
A Bizarre and fantastic journey
I won’t have time to listen to this all but I do like it on the surface. Trancelike, focussed, comforting.
Really weird and wild!
Really interesting. I've been listening to a lot of meditation tracks on Spotify and this pushed a lot of those buttons. The electric guitar threw me off but I enjoyed this listen.
Great background music for work
Incredible album! I remember listening to pt 1 so many times in college stoned as hell captivated by the many sounds that are present here. It always blew me away that it was one guy that did almost all of this alone. To be honest, though, I had only listened to part 1 before today, and while part 2 is brilliant in its own right, It doesn't carry the same wonder. I will certainly come back to this in the future!
"Tubular Bells" is the debut album from then19-year-old Mike Oldfield who played almost all the instruments of this mostly instrumental album. This music is classified as progressive rock but in today's world would be called ambient, new age or probably even experimental. The instruments used were a series of guitars, keyboards, percussion and of course tubular bells which were played with a claw hammer. The bells eventually cracked. Oldfield used overdubs which were unusual at that time and recorded on a 16-track recorder. This album did not do well upon its initial release but the the first part of the first song was used in "The Exorcist" and oh, you know that music with that creepy piano/keyboard. Well, after that, this album spent over a year in the UK top ten and hit No. 1 and hit No. 3 on the US Billboard chart. This album was also the first album on Virgin Records. The album contains two songs , one on each side. Side 1 "Tubular Bells, Part One" was recorded in one week at The Manor in the village of Shipton-on-Cherwell north of Oxford, England. The song starts out with that creepy "Exorcist" part, about six minutes in comes a very 70's progressive-sounding guitar, at 13 minutes a hockey-tonk piano, more heavy guitar at 14 minutes and finishes off with a guy, Vivian Stanshall, introducing each of the instruments which are then played. Side 2, "Tubular Bells, Part Two" continues the trend of a song with multiple parts and more layered guitar. This side sounds more of the experimental and ambient style of music. The most interesting thing on this side is the recording of an extremely drunk Oldfield screaming which was recorded at high speed and it sounds like a stuttering, stammering, low-putch drunk. Welcome to my Saturday Nights. The vocal is listed as "Piltdown Man." LOL. "Piltdown Man" was a paleoanthropological fossil fraud of an early human. Who came up with that? Side 2 was recorded over three months at The Manor due to limited availability. This album is quite the achievement for a 19-year old and, of course nowadays, Mike Oldfield is considered one of the great musicians of all time. I guess you can't really argue with that since this had to be one of the first ambient and/or new age style albums or at least a huge influence in those genres. And if you're into those genres this is the album for you but I'm sure you're already familiar with it. I have to be honest, I appreciate some of the ambient music out there today...much more than I used to. New Age has eluded me except for select cases and artists. I did like this album for its originality and technicality. It held my interest.
Totally tubular! I knew I'd heard this title before, but couldn't remember where until I pressed play. The opening theme became that of the Exorcist, and Mom and Dad would often refer to that Exorcist theme as "tubular bells" and I didn't know why until now. Wild that this was made by a 19 year old. The version I listened to had a whopping four tracks, which is two more than the proper album. I quite dug it, especially that first track and one of the bonus ones. What a weird, wild departure this is from the usual fare. Give me more quirked up stuff like this. Favorite tracks: Tubular Bells Pt. 1, Sailor's Hornpipe bonus. Album art: Love that this twisty tube is just suspended over an ocean view of a completely different picture grain and quality. Very cool effect. Kudos on this one, seems ahead of its time. 4/5
Phenomenal production and sounds
Le genre d'album qui fini et qu'on fait "Déjà ?" Overall très agréable, une bonne ambiance progressive et vraiment pas ennuyant pour un album instrumental.
Cool but I don’t like the grunting
You know an album is going to be good when the first song is over 20 minutes long... And is also the theme song used for the movie "The Exorcist".
Chilled instrumental prog. A bit silly at points but also hugely atmospheric.
Moments of absolute brilliance in the miasma of continuous sound. At times fantastic, at times interminable. But that's art, baby.
Played this to death on cassette as an Inbetweener in the mid 70s (way before I had seen 'The Exorcist'). Glad to re-listen now, though it is interminable. Rated for the nostalgia...
For me, this was another surprisingly fantastic album, and one that I never in 1 million years would have stumbled upon on my own. Usually, given my ADHD, long, drawn out instrumental pieces are hard for me to listen to, however Mike manages to keep your interest through the addition of instruments or background vocal stylings throughout the whole album. Since the songs are so long, I have broken them down individually to highlight the moments that moved me. For Tubular Bells Part 1, the first roughly 5 minutes is the Exorcist theme song, so it has a dark and eerie feel to it, then Spanish guitar is added in, followed by electric guitar to pull us out of the darkness. At the 13 minute mark, there is another drastic tempo change, accompanied by background choir humming and piano which builds into another rocking guitar solo. Around the 20 minute mark there is a funky bass groove playing on loop, almost lulling you into a trance, then an announcer starts naming instruments, and they get added in layers over the bass grove until the 23 minute mark, when you have a huge symphony of sound to finish the song. For Tubular Bell's Part 2, the first huge transition happens at around the 8 minute mark, when the song begins to picks up with backing vocal harmonies. A huge shock at the 12 minute mark, when gutteral, almost agitated groans accompany a rocking drum beat and guitar solo. At the roughly 21 minute mark, the final breakdown starts with a nautical sounding guitar riff with constantly increasing tempo. Favourite song: I enjoyed Tubular Bells Part 1 a bit more than Part 2, however both were very good. The version of the album Spotify brought up for me to listen to had 2 other tracks, which were isolated excerpts from the larger 2 songs on the album. Sailor's Hornpipe had Viv Stanshall humorously talking about an old house while the final nautical breakdown from Tubular Bells Part 2 plays in the background, sounding like a maritime house party. The other additional song is called Mike Oldfield's Theme, which has an almost LOTR/Middle Earth vibe to it. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this album. It isn't something that I would sit and listen to on repeat, but it was absolutely worth a listen, and I'm glad I did. 4/5
18 year old me loved this album, and guess what? 56 year old me still loves it! Quite an amazing accomplishment for a 19 year old kid to compose this and play nearly all the instruments. Of course everyone knows the theme from The Exorcist, but there is a whole lot more to this than just that part. 4 stars.
“…plus tew bew lah bells”. Wonderful. However, disassociating myself from something so familiar I can hear how it is disparate and and disjointed. Musically accomplished without doubt, but actually no linking musical themes. Would have been good to have the Exorcist intro brought back a few times (I think it is almost referenced in Pt2 with the acoustic/ electro guitar section?) or the Viv Stanshall master of ceremonies backing theme. My memory has those bits plus the proggy rock guitar section (“jazz”) as the highlights, but frankly it’s all fun, beautiful and exciting with pleasant melodies. And Mike Oldfield was only 19 - makes you sick!
Liked this one a lot. Emotion and humour and surprise. Even the instrument introduction came out as funny. Just wish that he’d learned to properly fry scream on side 2!
I actually have this on the original vinyl- definitely a classic
I've been looking forward to finally giving this one a go. It's great! Some really cool moments, like when a voice suddenly starts announcing the instruments 20 mins into Pt. I, and that demented growling sound in Pt. II. The tracks are long, but for the most part Mike keeps them interesting and surprising. Strange how something like this became so mainstream but I guess, like the Nizlopis and Sandi Thoms of this world, oddities do come to the fore sometimes. It's an impressive piece of work regardless, especially given it was composed and performed largely by one teenager. Absolutely belongs on an 'albums to hear before you die' list.
Super unique album. Instrumentals that slowly blend into each other. a little hard to add on spotify or something since the songs are 26 mins each, but I have this album on vinyl and it's a great one to just sit back and play in the background. only part I hate is the weird chanting bit in part 2.
It's funny how the first couple of minutes of this album is so well known, but it is really just one part of a pretty amazing piece of work. I love the announcements with the instruments towards the end of part I. It's a bit tricky to go from listening to so many albums that are collections of songs to something like this, but I quite enjoyed this detour! Lovely listening today!
The last two songs of the album are not my cup of tea, but I enjoy the two main ones.
It was fine
Interesting, love the different instruments used. Prefer the second part of the movement when everything comes together and kicks in. Theme is good too.
It was quite weird in the beginning, but it was pretty trippy by the end. Quite awesome.